Various Artists – Maximum Freakbeat + Maximum R’n’B + Acid Dreams

The resurgence of the Past & Present label is surely one of the most welcome things to happen on the ‘60s comps market these days. Incidentally, among the three featured herewith, the first two not only happen to be among my own all-time fave various artists collections, but also feature some of my all-time fave tracks! With all three being re-issues of long out of print releases, and with most of the tracks having been made available elsewhere in the meantime, there’s no “big finds” to be looked for, but it’s still kinda neat to have them all gathered.

In case there’s still some of you that are new to the (sub) genre, you can take the opening line of Maximum Freakbeat sleeve notes literally: “Catching R’n’B as it morphed into psychedelia, but with an angry, frantic edge”! One of the best examples is now an official Nugget (II), The Red Squares’ You Can Be My Baby, which I was first introduced to through the The Embrooks’ cover. There’s too many for all to be mentioned, but none the less of a genre-defining classics are Wimple Winch’s Merseybeat-gone-psych of Save My Soul, the pre-Pretty Things original version of The Fairies’ Get Yourself Home (also featuring Twink, a future Pretty Thing), the fuzzed out Dutchbeat of The Motions’ Everything That’s Mine, the most American sounding British garage-punker of them all that is Paul And Ritchie & The Crying Shames’ Come On Back, produced by Joe Meek, just like The Syndicats’ Crawdaddy Simone, often used as a genuine freakbeat “template”.

On a more conventionally r’n’b-based, but none the less frantic side of things, Maximum R’n’B features “wild British harmonica wailing R’n’B and beat”, of which most of them could’ve easily fit the freakbeat concept just as well. The ones I’m carrying around on my iPod forever (along with the above mentioned ones), ever since the damn thing’s been invented, are the following. First up, is The Wheels’ Bad Little Woman, proving once again that the Americans had a thing or two to learn from the British even when it comes to such a genuinely American thing as R’n’B is, and the same goes for The Others’ version of Bo Diddley’s Oh, Yeah, both songs almost copied and made into garage-punk classics by The Shadows Of Knight. Next up is the blues wailing pair of The Betterdays’ only single Don’t Want That, and The Primitives’ You Said, along with You Don’t Love Me (You Don’t Care), yet another Diddley cover, by one of my all-time faves The Birds, along with She’ll Be Sweeter Than You from the sole 45 by Nix Nomads, who seem to have remained obscure throughout the years.

With only 77 (!) copies originally pressed in the late ‘70s (in Germany), Acid Dreams remains one of the first comps to follow the path of Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets. Once again, those in-the-know will be familiar with most of the content, even if they’ve never heard them as a part of this particular package. Besides garage-psych “heavy-weights” such as The Music Machine, The Vejtables, The Balloon Farm, Zakary Thaks, The Mystic Tyde or Faine Jade other prime examples of American acid punk included are The Caretakers Of Deception’s lysergic take on Gloria riffsploitation, The Outcasts’ Love-like blast-out, The 13th Floor Elevators influenced Unrelated Segments, The Mind’s Eye’s baroque punk, along with two entries by Velvet Illusions. All three essential for anyone with shelfs overloaded with Nuggets, Pebbles, Mindrockers and whatelsenots.

[Released by Past & Present 2009]

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